Carlisle Unity Festival

AWAZ Cumbria, Carlisle One World Centre, Op Shops, Bespoke Minds and other partners are looking forward to hosting the third Carlisle Unity Festival this Saturday 14th July 2018 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. The opening ceremony of the Festival will be led by the Mayor of Carlisle Cllr Jessica Riddle.

This is Carlisle’s main annual city centre festival with the message of Connecting Communities, Celebrating Diversity.

The event's organisers wish to invite members of the Carlisle public to come along to this free event, to take part and enjoy celebrating our community together, remembering that 'we have more in common than that which divides us.'

Organisations and community groups will have an information stand under a gazebo or marquee, in the city centre. Groups will take part in an International Coffee morning in the Old Town Hall, deliver workshops or perform in the city centre. Highlights will be a children’s music workshop delivered by Blue Jam Arts, Exciting and colourful performances by Chinese Lion dancers, entertainment by and Laughter Yoga and Carlisle Clog and Sword dancing with a taste of cakes from around the world. Jason the Juggler will entertain children and families with performances and balloon modelling and there will be face painting, craft workshops and a raffle.

Colette McQueen from Bespoke Minds says: “Being an organising committee member and an exhibitor at the Carlisle Unity Festival in my hometown is such a great honour and privilege for me especially when supporting equality, community spirit and diversity for our city.”

Aftab Khan, Coordinator of the Festival and Development Manager AWAZ Cumbria said: Carlisle Unity Festival brings diverse communities, groups and organisation together to showcase their talent, enthusiasm, commitment and services for creating unity within community and making Carlisle a welcoming place for all.”

The Carlisle Unity Festival aims to appeal to all communities, ages and abilities. We have funding confirmed from the Cumbria Community Foundation, Cumbria County Council, Unison, the ASDA Foundation and Carlisle City Council with whom we are working closely on the organisation of the day.

For more information contact:
carlisleunityfest@gmail.com
Or
Aftab Khan – Development Manager, AWAZ Cumbria
E-mail: Aftab@awaz.info
Tel: 01228 511115;
Or
Adrienne Gill - Development Officer, Carlisle One World Centre,
E-mail: agill.cowc@googlemail.com
Background

Carlisle Unity Festival is one of the key annual events for all communities in Carlisle and the surrounding area. Building on the success of the first Carlisle Unity Festival which took place in August 2016, the Festival builds unity, promotes integration, fosters good relations and celebrates all that we have in common as residents of a diverse and vibrant city.

Based in the city centre on the day, the Festival brings together a range of community groups, public and private sector organisations. Working together they share their knowledge and information with the general public in an informal, fun and welcoming environment.

The Carlisle Unity Festival is free of charge public event appealing to all ages and abilities, promoting the message of Unity during these times of uncertainty about the future of our country following the EU Referendum and other recent events.
The Festival builds on the community resilience and unity demonstrated in Carlisle and the surrounding areas following the December 2015 floods.

The key benefit from the event would support the work towards fostering good relations that are tackling prejudice and promoting understanding by celebrating the diversity of people and cultures in Carlisle.

The festival encourages active citizenship and greater participation and inclusion through community action and engagement in a wide range of activities.

The Festival has a particular focus on empowering the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people and other marginalised groups living in Carlisle and some of their activities are highlighted through information stalls, workshops and performances.

The outcomes will include the following:

- Greater awareness and understanding of the issues affecting minority or marginalised groups
- Increased confidence and trust within participant groups to work more collaboratively for achievement of shared objectives
- Promotion of Carlisle as a welcoming place for all who want to live, work, study, visit or conduct business in the city.

The idea of the original Unity Festival came from a group of local people who had attended a similar event in Newcastle in 2015. A committee was set up who's membership consisted half of members of the community and half from local charities, including AWAZ Cumbria - a community development organisation which directly work with and empower the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people and communities in Cumbria, Carlisle One World Centre and the Carlisle Opp Shops, a group of charity shops who support many people with low self-esteem and poor mental health. This committee designed and ran the 2016 festival in a short time frame of four months and thereafter in 2017 and 2018.

AWAZ Cumbria has provided the coordination and management support and is the lead accountable body for the Festival. Since 2016, the Carlisle Unity Festival has been a great success, reaching out to thousands of local people, both passers-by and those who came specifically to workshops and other items on the programme.

The same committee regularly meets to reflect on and evaluate the day, taking on board the feedback (both verbal and on social media) from members of the public and has re-formed with two additional members from the organisations who took part in the Festival and organising the Festival in 2017. We are hoping to expand our membership further to include more young people and community members and we will carry out consultations with the general public on the content of the 2018 Festival and beyond through questionnaires, polls and consultations at wider meetings we attend.

We are working closely in partnership with Carlisle City Council in the planning and delivery of the event and seeking further support and partnership from wider voluntary, public and private sector organisations

Equality Cumbria is an umbrella organisation that encompasses a number of different charities based in Cumbria. Together they tackle inequality in race, religion, sexuality and more.